Jesus and Peter » Manila Bulletin News

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John 21:15-19

 

After Jesus had revealed Himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, He said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death He would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow me.”

 

Reflection

Do you love me? Peter denied Jesus three times, and this, most probably, is the background of Jesus’ question repeated three times: “Do you love me?” As the denial was complete (“three” stands for completeness), so is Peter’s rehabilitation to discipleship. Jesus not only forgives Peter; He also bestows on him a greater responsibility: a mission that will control his life from now on. Peter is entrusted with the care of Jesus’ flock.

Like Jesus, the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, Peter will give his life for the sheep. There is a reference to Peter’s martyrdom in Jesus’ words: “When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John’s Gospel was written around 85 AD. By this time, it was common knowledge among Christians that Peter died in Rome during the persecution of Nero after the burning of Rome in 64 AD. St. Peter’s Basilica on Vatican Hill now stands over the place where Peter crowned his “shepherding” by dying for the flock entrusted to him by the Lord.

 

 “To die for the faith is a gift to some, to live the faith is a call for all”

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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